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Virtual Happy Hour: Cold Brew Coffee Cocktail at Ink.

(Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
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It's been said that Michael Voltaggio's Melrose restaurant ink. is one of the hardest tables to nab in town. While it will never be easy to get a two-top at his place on a Friday night, things have become easier because of their ample bar seating. What was originally intended to be the omakase area of the restaurant is now part of the bar, meaning that there are between 18-20 seats available for walk-ins.

Of course, it might seem odd to do a full tasting menu sitting at the bar, but some of the dishes on the menu are perfectly suited for happy hour eating. And the cocktail menu at ink is fresh and straight forward.

Drinks are listed by their base spirit, so as not to get too fancy with names. There are some really fun cocktails in place, including one that tastes exactly like an Orange Julius that you might have spiked while ditching sixth period science. Our favorite on the menu, though, combines to of the zeitgeist-iest things in town right now: specialty coffee and cocktails. The drink contains Handsome Roasters cold brew coffee, orgeat, coconut milk, Jamaican rum, and tequila. The orgeat cleverly brings out the citrusy notes in the coffee, and the coconut adds a rich twist. If you're a fan of coffee, this drink is definitely for you.

And while you might associate the Top Chef champ's cooking with smoke and mirrors and modernist technique, there are plenty of nibbles that are suited for post-work noshing. Take, for instance, Voltaggio's take on poutine, which is made with chickpea fries whose center is so smooth, it might as well be a mashed potato. The dish isn't nearly as heavy as what you'd find at a food truck, but still satisfies that fried food itch. Another good bar bite is his take on traditional tapas, a plate composed of manchego biscuits, jamon, and marcona almond puree. Who'd have thought that one of the more science-driven chefs in town could make one of the best biscuits we'd ever had? And speaking of sweets, you should definitely splurge on the deconstructed apple pie. Sure, there's gel and liquid nitrogen, but the flavors are just as satisfying as mom's. And it is Friday, after all. Go ahead and indulge.